Cloud computing is not necessarily a new technology, but it is one that has become much more popular in the past few years. It is a technology that has been improved upon and more companies are relying on cloud computing for their hardware, software, and storage needs. What is Cloud Computing? There are several definitions of what exactly cloud computing is. The simplest explanation is that cloud computing is a means of renting computers, storage, and network capacity on an hourly basis from a company that already has these resources in its own data center and can make them available to you and your customers via the Internet (Smith, 2009).
Cloud computing comes in three main formats: Infrastructure-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service, and software-as-a-service (SaaS) (Howarth, 2009). Infrastructure-as-a-service provides access to server hardware, storage and bandwidth (2009). Platform-as-a-service provides basic operating software and may also include services such as database access, user interface, message queues, and application servers (2009). The last model is software-as-a-service (SaaS), which provides customers with access to complete software applications that are often integrated with other users to prove greater functionality for the customer (2009).
Positive Aspects of Cloud Computing Prior to cloud computing, there were related services that offered certain or limited services, but not all the services were combined, as they are with cloud computing. Small- and mid-size businesses are signing up for cloud computing, as their goal is to eliminate as much internal IT services as possible (Shacklett, 2011). Cloud computing allows a company to use the services that they see fit for their needs and use as much computing power as them deem necessary on an hourly basis (Smith, 2009).
As the demand for internal or external users shrinks or expands, the necessary software, hardware, storage, and network capacity can be added or subtracted as needed (Smith, 2009). The equipment is not kept at the company using the cloud computing service. It does not require upgrades to the electrical system, modifications of the cooling system, additional floor space, or expansion of the IT staff (Smith, 2009). The cloud computing company handles the storage and service of the equipment needed.
The last advantage is that there are competing providers for cloud computing services (Smith, 2009). If you are not happy with the current company, you have the choice to move your business to a different company that offers the services that you need. Disadvantages of Cloud Computing The biggest concern or disadvantage of cloud computing is security. The geographical location of the data in a cloud computing environment will have a significant impact on the legal requirements for protection and handling of the data (Bowen, 2011).
The laws of the host country apply to the data on the machines (Smith, 2009). Most businesses are hesitant to allow their internal data to be stored on a computer that is outside of their own company and could potentially be stored with another company’s application (Smith, 2009). To date, there has been no breach of client-to-client data, which could be due to sufficient security or because there has been no value in this type of breach (Smith, 2009). There have also been variations of performance when running applications on the cloud (Smith, 2009).
Cloud computing services have crashed and become unavailable for several hours or days. When this happens, all your services are off-line until the problem is corrected (Smith, 2009). It may appear as if cloud computing has an unlimited amount of computers and storage disks to meet the needs of customers. As cloud computing becomes more popular and widely used the amount of computers and storage disks may become somewhat limited. Relation of cloud computing to a Biblical Ethical Worldview
When a business uses cloud computing they are putting their trust into another company with their personal and business information. The cloud computer company must protect the information as if it were their own. Recommendation of Cloud Computing I believe I would use cloud computing if I were starting or operating a small- to mid-size business. To have access to the hardware, software, and storage capacity of the changing and growing computer industry, it is a good alternative to actually purchasing the equipment or software.
Projections of Cloud Computing Cloud computing will continue to grow in popularity. As more businesses look for ways to cut cost, cloud computing will eliminate the need to have the storage space, money needed to purchase and upgrade equipment and to have the technical knowledge to handle problems that arise. Conclusion The popularity of mobile devices is growing rapidly in the business world. To be able to have the software needed downloaded on the mobile devices, as needed, will be a huge benefit to businesses.
Cloud computing will also help companies that have several different locations throughout the world connect to the same network, using the same software, when needed. Security will always be a concern, whether the data is stored in-house or at an off-site location. Reputable companies are quickly joining the cloud computing business and although there still may be breaches, the more reputable the company, the better the consumer feels about storing their data off-site. Cloud computing will be a huge benefit to businesses as technology continues to change and grow.